Novak Djokovic has reached the semifinals at the French Open for the twelfth time, taking the next step towards the sole Grand Slam title record he is aiming for. The Serb defeated Karen Khachanov 4:6, 7:6 (7:0), 6:2, 6:4 and lost the first set of the tournament.
"He was the better player for two sets and then I played a perfect tie-breaker," said Djokovic. "I am happy to have mastered this great challenge." For the first time, he was really challenged for the entire game over 3:38 hours. However, the 36-year-old was able to rely on his nerves of steel again and also won the fifth tie-break at this edition of the classic clay court in Paris. Djokovic increased his record to nine wins in ten duels with Khachanov. The eleventh in the world rankings had recently reached the semifinals at the US Open and the Australian Open.
Djokovic can continue to hope for his 23rd title in a Grand Slam tournament, which would leave Spaniard Rafael Nadal behind. More often in the top four at the French Open than Djokovic was only Nadal, who reached the semifinals 15 times and is not playing in Paris this year due to injury.
Djokovic is now dealing with the winner of the evening game between top seeded Carlos Alcaraz from Spain and fifth in the world rankings Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece.